AT&T’s congestion magically disappears when it’s signing up new customers

You know what happens when you have a select few providers control a market? You get something like AT&T offering new customers “double the data for the same price” while simultaneously throttling everyone else.

Technically it’s not a monopoly, but it sure feels like one, doesn’t it?

Old B&L site

Back when Bausch and Lomb was actively manufacturing, it maintained an enormous complex on St. Paul St. in Rochester. It has long since left that site but two buildings remain on opposite sides of St. Paul along with ruins of some of the others. This section of one building forms a border on the parking lot. Both of these were taken with my Toyo-View 4×5 view camera using Fuji FP-100c45 instant film.


Here’s How A Six-Pack Of Craft Beer Ends Up Costing $12

In general, a craft beer is always going to be more expensive than a macro beer. Part of this is due to basic ingredient cost. Craft brewers generally use more of them for a beer and don’t cut corners like replacing barley malt with rice or corn. But more than half of the cost of craft beer goes to distribution and retailer’s margins.

Distribution costs come about because of the way beer gets to a consumer in the US. Prior to Prohibition, breweries in the US followed a model similar to what are called “tied houses” in the UK. That is, the breweries owned the bars where their beer was sold and strictly controlled which beers could be served there. In the aftermath of Prohibition, a system was set up whereby breweries sold to middlemen called distributors who then move the beer to retail outlets, bars and restaurants. When craft brewing started, this made it difficult for new breweries to enter a market. They were forced to deal with distributors who saw their relatively small volumes as not worth their time and would either not bother or marginalize craft beers compared to the large volume macros. It took a while before many states passed laws that allowed craft brewers to sell their own beers at the brewery (in addition to just offering tastings). Even today, getting in with a distributor still means life or death for a craft brewery.

So visit your local craft brewery and buy their beer there. You’ll save money and give them all the profits. Win-win!

The “skills gap” is a myth that won’t go away

Krugman calls it a zombie idea, “an idea that should have been killed by evidence, but refuses to die.” It’s the “skills gap”, a myth that says the reason jobs go unfilled is because workers don’t have the right skills.

Think about what we would expect to find if there really were a skills shortage. Above all, we should see workers with the right skills doing well, while only those without those skills are doing badly. We don’t.

Yes, workers with a lot of formal education have lower unemployment than those with less, but that’s always true, in good times and bad. The crucial point is that unemployment remains much higher among workers at all education levels than it was before the financial crisis. The same is true across occupations: workers in every major category are doing worse than they were in 2007.

FDR: King of All Media

When FDR became president he was faced with an economic depression unprecedented in US (and ultimately world) history. Among the issues was a total lack of public confidence in the banking system that had resulted in a some banks going belly up as depositors demanded cash they couldn’t provide. Roosevelt turned to the hot new technology, radio, to talk directly to the American public and explain what was going on with the banks.